KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today dismissed former Teratai assemblyman Jenice Lee Ying Ha’s defamation suit against acting DAP national chairman Tan Kok Wai.
Justice Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera said the court found, on the balance of probability, that Lee had failed to prove her case against Tan, and ordered her to pay RM40,000 costs to the defendant.
Lee filed her suit on Nov 12, 2013, alleging that on April 23, 2013, which was the third day of campaigning for the 13th General Election, Tan uttered defamatory statements against her to reporters.
She alleged that the defendant had accused her of corruption, power abuse and misappropriation during a press conference at the Taman Muda market in the Teratai constituency.
She claimed that the statements made by Tan, who is also DAP disciplinary committee chairman, were published by Chinese news portals and damaged her position, credibility, integrity and reputation as a person and in politics.
In his judgement today, Vazeer Alam said the plaintiff had failed to prove that it was the defendant who had published the alleged defamatory remarks.
The judge said evidence showed that the defendant had distributed a copy of the Disciplinary Committee’s (DC) findings to reporters and made some remarks.
“The findings were in fact released upon a challenge by the plaintiff for them to be released and made public,” Vazeer Alam said.
He said the reporters had then written out their reports based on the contents of the findings.
“Based on the overall evidence, I am satisfied that the contents of the DC’s findings are in the fact findings of DC and there is no evidence of malice on the part of the defendant in disclosing DC’s findings in light of the plaintiff’s challenge to the defendant to do so,” he said.
Even if the defendant was proven to have made the publication, Vazeer Alam held, the publication of the findings was on an occasion of “qualified privilege”.
Speaking to reporters later, Tan welcomed the verdict, saying, justice had prevailed.
However, Lee said she would appeal against the court’s decision “as soon as possible”.
Tan was represented by lawyer Lewis Lim Tiong Wee and Eric Tan, while Lee, by Michael Wong and Ravin Woodhull. -Bernama